Unemployment may rise towards 7 per cent and hover there, with job advertisements falling back almost 3 per cent in September, according to an ANZ Bank survey.
In the June quarter, official unemployment rose slightly to 6.8 per cent, back towards the peaks seen in late 2009 after the global financial crisis hit.
There was a 5.9 per cent fall in newspaper job ads in the month, while internet job ads dropped 2.4 per cent in September.
In total, job ads were down 2.9 per cent, seasonally adjusted, after a gain of 0.6 per cent in August.
ANZ's composite indicator, which gives greater weighting to newspaper ads, fell 4 per cent.
"This continues to suggest the unemployment rate will rise towards 7 per cent over the next six months," ANZ said.
Internet job ads have taken market share from papers, but one paper ad has been replaced by many cheaper internet ads, often listed on multiple sites.
So the total numbers of ads in print (4871 in September) and online (27,640 in September) do not reflect actual jobs available.
There were a total of 32,511 job ads in the month, according to ANZ seasonally adjusted figures. That was down from 33,821 in September last year.
But job ads do indicate the physical employment of tomorrow and ANZ said its composite index tracked changes in unemployment closely, with a six-month lead. The index was consistent with unemployment "hovering" around 7 per cent in the second half of this year.
ANZ said anecdotes of job cuts in the tradeables sector were starting to build up.
The trend for job ads was flat, but total job ads were 6 per cent below their post-recession peak seen in the middle of last year.
In Wellington total reported job ads were down 2.2 per cent, while Auckland job ads dropped 3.6 per cent.
- The Dominion Post